We live in a knowledge-based economy where access to information is vital to our continued success. At ClearView Strategic Partners Inc. we are committed to reviewing and assembling the most current news articles focused on corporate governance issues, compliance and regulatory updates, leadership and organizational studies from around the globe.

News Archive


July 01, 2014

That's Tempting

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June 26, 2014

When Tiny Fibs Create Big Risks for Businesses

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April 27, 2014

The Social Capital Benefits Of Ethical Leadership

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February 10, 2014

What makes job seekers lie on their résumés?

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February 05, 2014

The GlobalEthicist – The biggest risks nobody talks about

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January 11, 2014

In Life and Business, Learning to Be Ethical

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January 08, 2014

Research: We Should Speak Up About Ethical Violations More Often

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December 17, 2013

In international trade, 'nobody's hands are clean'

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September 20, 2013

Opting to Blow the Whistle or Choosing to Walk Away

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September 08, 2013

Why leaders need to have integrity

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September 02, 2013

Risky business

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July 27, 2013

Lessons I learned from SNC-Lavalin's woes

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July 04, 2013

Canadians see misconduct in workplace, but few are reported: study

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July 03, 2013

Theft, Abuse & Cooking the Books: 42% of Canadians Admit Witnessing Misconduct at Work

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(July 3, 2013) - According to a recent survey on ethics in Canadian organizations, 42% of working Canadians have witnessed misconduct at their current employer. If this percentage is extrapolated to the entire Canadian population, as many as 7.1 million Canadians may have seen wrongdoing at work.

The data regarding the amount of misconduct occurring is startling: 28% of respondents witnessed the misuse of company property at their current employer, 25% saw harm to employees, 17% observed privacy violations, 17% were aware of fraud, 13% witnessed conflicts of interest, 9% knew about bribery or corruption, 12% observed environmental violations, and 11% had knowledge of the misrepresentation of financial results.

"Senior business leaders should use these results to take a long, hard look at the ethics within their organizations, and determine ways they can improve their programs and strengthen their ethical cultures," said Phil Enright, President & CEO of ClearView Strategic Partners Inc., the ethics reporting/whistleblowing and advisory services firm that sponsored the survey. "Wrongdoing can negatively impact your organization's reputation and financial well-being, while a strong ethical culture can positively impact your organization's performance and reduce risk."

Equally disturbing is that 48% of the working Canadians who witnessed workplace misconduct did not report it. Their reluctance or inability to 'speak up' about wrongdoing in the workplace may be linked to a lack of faith that investigations will be conducted properly (69%)or a belief that disciplinary measures will not be applied consistently (66%), or be due to the fact that many fear retaliation or negative consequences as a result of reporting (23%).

"Understanding why over 40% of respondents witnessed misconduct, but almost half did not report it, should lead to remedies, improved preventative measures, and a reduction in unethical behaviour," says Leonard Brooks, Professor of Business Ethics and Accounting at the University of Toronto. "Understanding the nature of the misconduct witnessed is also essential to effective governance. Directors, corporate executives and senior management of organizations, who cannot personally interact with many employees, need to ensure that their corporate culture is supportive of concerned employees who want to improve and protect their company. This is just sound risk management."

The survey revealed that working Canadians are under tremendous pressure to compromise ethical standards to achieve their goals. One in three working Canadians felt that delivering results in their organization was more important than doing the right thing. Furthermore, 22% of respondents felt they had to compromise their personal ethics to keep their job. This is clearly a red flag for Canadian organizations concerned about reputational risk and the severe repercussions that can arise from ethical meltdowns - and should serve as a wake-up call to leaders in both public and private sectors.

"There are a number of things organizations can do to improve ethics," said Enright, pointing to three important survey findings, "first, set up strong incentives to act with integrity; second, improve confidence in investigation and disciplinary systems; and third, protect employees who wish to report misconduct by eliminating retaliation and providing secure, confidential and anonymous reporting channels."

The ClearView 2013 Workplace Ethics Survey was conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of ClearView Strategic Partners Inc. from June 7 to 11, 2013. The survey polled 1054 working Canadians in both public and private sectors. It is one of the latest initiatives by ClearView to raise awareness about ethics in the Canadian workplace.

ClearView Strategic Partners Inc. is Canada's leading ethics reporting and advisory services firm. The ClearView Connects(TM) ethics reporting and hotline solution provides employees and stakeholders with a secure, confidential and anonymous mechanism to report incidents of wrongdoing, concerns and suggestions for improvement. ClearView also provides its clients with custom research and consulting services, focused on the assessment and strategic improvement of organizational ethics programs, practices and culture. For more information, visit us at www.clearviewpartners.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

ClearView Strategic Partners Inc.

Phil Enright

President & CEO

(416) 481-9167 or 1-866-337-8369

penright@clearviewpartners.com

OR

ClearView Strategic Partners Inc.

Michelle Vincent

Director, Ethics Advisory Services

(416) 481-5329 or 1-855-245-2096

mvincent@clearviewpartners.com

www.clearviewpartners.com

OR

Ipsos Reid

Sean Simpson

Associate Vice President

(416) 572-4474

Sean.simpson@ipsos.com

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July 03, 2013

42 per cent of Canadians have seen misconduct at work

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June 18, 2013

Big investors should follow code of conduct, advocate says

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June 12, 2013

Mining, oil and gas companies to face tougher rules on disclosing payments overseas

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May 13, 2013

Big banks affirm open culture

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April 28, 2013

SNC-Lavalin's new sheriff takes centre stage

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April 08, 2013

Scotiabank helping build ethical business leaders of tomorrow

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April 06, 2013

Why you should make integrity a core pillar of your business

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April 04, 2013

Why you want your employees to be committed and proud

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February 25, 2013

Carney calls for banks to focus on ethics

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December 10, 2012

Internal compliance reporting programs must consider motivations for acting, experts say

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November 13, 2012

Sex-Scandal CEOs Spark Surge of Notoriety in the C-Suite

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July 31, 2012

How competition can encourage unethical business practices

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July 19, 2012

For some, ethics are a moving target

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July 02, 2012

Saddle up for cowboy ethics

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June 20, 2012

Corporate ethics trickle down from the top

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March 29, 2012

Transparency, communication can improve company compliance

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March 16, 2012

How companies can encourage internal whistleblowing

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September 12, 2011

Reducing cheating in self reporting documents

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July 22, 2011

Three Things Enron Can Teach Us About Dodd-Frank

 

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July 15, 2011

What ethics means in business

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July 13, 2011

SEC Issues Final Rules on Whistleblower Protections and Bounty Program

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May 11, 2011

Boeing Ruling on Whistleblower Firing May Discourage Leaks to News Media

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April 06, 2011

The trouble with employee financial incentives

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September 15, 2010

MetLife To Pay Whistle-blower $2.5M For Sarbanes-Oxley Violation

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July 29, 2010

Dodd-Frank Act: enhanced protection for whistleblowers against employer retaliation

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April 11, 2010

Reports of fraud often go nowhere

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January 22, 2010

French Supreme Court Limits the Scope of the Whistleblowing Processes

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January 19, 2010

Report: FBI Illegally Gathered Phone Records And Misused National Security Letters

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January 14, 2010

Truth and No Consequences

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August 14, 2009

Court sets standards for Sarbanes whistleblower suits

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May 24, 2009

Tracking down fraud is now in demand

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May 12, 2009

Supervisors not sure how to take anonymous note

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March 08, 2009

Dynamic duo hunt bosses on the fiddle

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February 12, 2009

Fraud on the increase as recession takes hold

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February 07, 2009

Making sure the boardroom doesn't become the `bored' room

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January 28, 2009

Supreme Court Holds Title VII Protects Employees Against Retaliation for Responding to Inquiries in Internal Investigations

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January 07, 2009

Wells Fargo Whistleblower Files Lawsuit to Enforce Department of Labor Order of Reinstatement

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January 05, 2009

My dog ate his laptop

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October 06, 2008

Whistleblower Claims Arbitrable Under SOX, 2nd Circuit Determines

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September 09, 2008

US law ‘fails to protect’ corporate whistleblowers

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August 05, 2008

Foreign-Based Employee Permitted To Sue

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March 24, 2008

Patriot Act haunts Google service

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March 14, 2008

FBI Tried to Cover Patriot Act Abuses With Flawed, Retroactive Subpoenas, Audit Finds

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March 05, 2008

The Current State Of Corporate Fraud Risk Management (FRM)

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February 17, 2008

General Counsel Aren't Dodging a Bullet Anymore

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February 01, 2008

The risks of fraud go well beyond SocGen

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January 18, 2008

Paper scandal points to shortcomings of Japan Inc

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January 16, 2008

Interest in Ethics and Compliance Programs Grows

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August 09, 2007

Nasdaq says Chinese listings growing en


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August 01, 2007

Canadian IT execs face 'J-SOX' compliance rules

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January 31, 2007

Can the government control corporate fraud?

More than four years after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and long after the spectacular crash-and-burn displays of Enron, WorldCom, accounting giant Arthur Andersen and auto supplier Delphi, talk in Congress and among Securities and Exchange Commission honchos increasingly focuses on this question.

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December 15, 2006

Transparency and Accountability Act Proclaimed

The Transparency and Accountability Act, proclaimed today, will ensure greater openness and accountability of all government departments and public bodies.

“The Transparency and Accountability Act is a flagship piece of legislation for our government,” said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “This act reflects our commitment to provide the legislative framework for the conduct of fiscal policy, better decision-making processes and most important, strengthened accountability, openness and transparency. We remain committed to ensuring that government is fully accountable to the people who have entrusted us to run the province.”

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December 13, 2006

Ontario Government Passes Legislation to Strengthen Accountability and Transparency in Public Service

Legislation Will Protect Whistleblowers and Restore Successor Rights

legislature has passed legislation introduced by the McGuinty government that will support and maintain a high standard of integrity for public servants while providing important protections public servants need to deliver high-quality services to Ontarians.

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December 12, 2006

Federal Accountability Act Becomes Law

Canada’s New Government followed through on a key promise today by delivering on its top priority – passing the Federal Accountability Act – as Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, granted Royal Assent to the Act in the Senate today.

“We promised to stand up for accountability and to change the way government works,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Canadians elected this government to deliver on that commitment and today the Federal Accountability Act has received Royal Assent. From this day on, accountability in government is the law and we can all be proud of that fact.”

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November 29, 2006

Blow those whistles

HOW can it be that a federal government officer abuses his expense account, takes summers off but still collects compensation for unused vacation, does very little work for very much money, but doesn't get caught over a 26-year career?

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November 29, 2006

Workers lack faith in whistle-blowing

OTTAWA—Canada's auditor general says only about half the employees of federal public safety agencies believe their bosses would act on reports of misconduct. In a report yesterday, Sheila Fraser said workers need to know management will follow up on their whistle-blowing and preserve their confidentiality.

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September 29, 2006

Protection of whistle-blowers key to effective corporate governance

Managers and auditors in Asia are becoming more aware of the need to protect employees who tip off on fraudulent activities in their workplace. This is according to industry players at the Institute of Internal Auditors Conference in Singapore on Friday.

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September 13, 2006

Closely Held Companies Adopting Sarbanes, Increasing Demand for Auditors

Privately owned companies, although not bound by the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), are feeling the effects of the law in specific areas of their businesses, as well as the impact of widespread public commitment to stronger internal controls that the law has helped to create. In response to these pressures, more closely held companies are demanding additional internal audits and internal auditors, as well as providing new business opportunities for external auditors.

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July 25, 2006

Singapore firms placing more focus on corporate governance: SIB Survey

More firms in Singapore are making the push to embrace higher corporate governance standards. That is according to a recent survey organised by the Singapore Institute of Directors.

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July 06, 2006

With only a letter, FBI can gather private data

When the FBI office in New Haven, Conn., received an e-mail in February 2005 that looked like a terrorist threat, agents followed a familiar routine. They asked the service provider, a group of Connecticut public libraries, for the real name, street address and Internet logs of the sender. They had no search warrant, grand jury subpoena or court order. Instead, a local FBI official hand-delivered a National Security Letter — one of more than 9,000 sent to finance, telephone and Internet companies last year — that described the records needed.

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June 06, 2006

Privacy is changing outsourcing in Canada

Outsourcing in Canada is changing because of privacy laws, changes in government outsourcing policies and business concerns resulting from the USA PATRIOT Act. Increasingly, Canadian service providers are finding themselves with a competitive advantage simply because they keep their customers' data in Canada. Conversely, U.S.-based service providers are finding themselves at a disadvantage, often scrambling to move their data processing to Canada.

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June 01, 2006

What is the Enron effect?

As Enron’s former chief executive and chairman, Jeffrey Skilling and Kenneth Lay wait to hear whether they will spend the rest if their lives in jail, it became clear, in the UK at least, that the only verdict that would have surprised the profession was if the jury in Huston had returned a not guilty verdict.  Instead, after five days of deliberation, the verdict came back as guilty on 25 of the 34 charges the pair faced in relation to the collapse of Enron in 2001. One Big Four partner tells Accountancy Age: ‘The biggest surprise would have been if the verdict had gone the other way, especially given the weight of evidence.’

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May 26, 2006

Enron bosses nailed in fraud

The Enron trial is over, but one of the biggest business collapses in U.S. history will affect corporations for years to come. Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling were convicted of conspiracy and fraud Thursday by a federal jury that laid blame squarely on Enron Corp.'s two former top executives. They are to learn their sentences on Sept. 11; each faces more than a hundred years in prison.

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May 23, 2006

Does Your Ethics Policy Comply With the Sarbanes-Oxley Act?

Publicly traded companies are required to abide by ethical standards included in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. However, many private and not-for-profit organizations are voluntarily following suit. "It's become more of a norm as a good business practice," says Lisa R. Callaway, director of labor relations and general counsel for The Management Association of Illinois. A company facing criminal penalties as a result of financial corruption would likely face smaller penalties if it has met the seven requirements, according to Callaway.

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May 08, 2006

Patriot Act threatens our privacy

Technology has made the movement of information across borders quick and easy. It has led to concerns, however, as governments increasingly want to look at data.

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April 07, 2006

Six easy ways to retain best of the best

IN THE WAKE of a tightening of the labour market, attracting and retaining valued employees has become a central focus for many organizations.

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March 13, 2006

Alberta 'Patriot Act' bill

The government of Alberta in Canada has introduced a bill meant to stop "compelled disclosures" of personal information under America's Patriot Act. Bill 20 creates fines of up to $500,000 for violating local laws.

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March 12, 2006

CSA plan will open books

Publicly traded companies will have to report on their accounting controls. All Canadian publicly traded companies would be forced to report on the effectiveness of their internal accounting controls after the end of next year under proposals announced yesterday by securities regulators.

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March 10, 2006

Survey shows strong support for quarterly reporting, whistle-blowing

A survey among accountants has found that a majority are in favour of quarterly reporting and legislation to protect whistle-blowers. The survey, jointly conducted by CPA Australia and the NUS Business School, covered 3,000 members of the accounting body in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

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March 09, 2006

Canadian business verdict on Sarbanes-Oxley: do it, or be left behind by the competition

The consensus of executives interviewed for the March 2006 issue of CMA Management is straightforward: implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) mandated controls isn't an easy task, but the pay-off is a much more efficient organization - and a potential major competitive advantage over rivals that don't make a similar effort. The executives interviewed work at major companies that completed SOX implementations in 2005.

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January 10, 2006

Communication can boost loyalty among employees

Loyalty may seem like a quality that's becoming increasingly harder to find, whether it's employee loyalty to a company or consumer loyalty to a product.

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January 09, 2006

London Business School Launches New Center for Corporate Governance

London Business School and Oracle today announced a center for corporate governance to lead international thinking and serve the needs of business and policymakers. The new center is backed by Oracle, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Prudential, and aims to provide independent research and recommendations of value to policy makers, corporations, investors and other interest groups.

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January 09, 2006

Resurrecting WorldCom as MCI

In the debut event for Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business Center for Corporate Governance, MCI CEO and President Michael D. Capellas told an audience of more than 160 how he instilled a culture of accountability, honesty and customer service to rebuild MCI after a $40 billion bankruptcy, the largest in U.S. business history, which followed the massive accounting fraud for which Bernard Ebbers was convicted.

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November 08, 2005

Effective Employee Communication Linked to Stronger Financial Performance

Companies that communicate effectively with their workers financially outperform those that do not, according to a major study of U.S. and Canadian employers by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a human capital consulting firm.

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November 03, 2005

Oversight Systems Corporate Fraud Survey Finds Sarbanes-Oxley Effective in Identifying Financial Statement Fraud

Oversight Systems Inc. today announced the findings of the 2005 Oversight Systems Report on Corporate Fraud, a survey of certified fraud examiners. The report explains that most fraud examiners view Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) as an effective tool in fraud identification, though few think it will change the culture of business leaders.

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October 19, 2005

Did SOX Have a Role at Refco?

The problems at commodities and futures broker Refco Inc. that emerged over the past week made for another interesting case study in the debate over the necessity of the internal control provisions contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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October 19, 2005

One in Three Workers Witness Ethical Misconduct Despite Clearly Communicated Guidelines

Nearly a third (31 percent) of U.S. workers have witnessed co-workers engage in ethical misconduct, according to a Hudson survey on workplace ethics. However, only half (52 percent) of those witnessing unethical or illegal acts reported it to anyone in authority. Despite these figures, nearly eight in ten U.S. workers (78 percent) state that their companies clearly communicate what they consider unethical and ethical behavior in the workplace.

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October 10, 2005

Patriot Act Poses Risk for US Financial Institutions

Complying with the Patriot Act is a top concern for boards of financial services firms, according to a survey of 210 board members conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers at its 2005 Financial Services Audit Committee Forum, held last week in New York. Sixty-five percent of those surveyed were audit committee members or chairs, who serve a crucial governance role in corporate oversight of compliance in today's post-Sarbanes-Oxley world.

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September 22, 2005

Small Firms Get More Time On Sarbanes-Oxley Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday gave small companies one more year to comply with costly rules that require them to assess the adequacy of their financial controls.

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September 22, 2005

Internal Audit Functions may Need Rebalancing If Companies Are to Achieve Added Value, Says Deloitte & Touche

Internal audit answered corporate America's call for help like no other business function during the first year of compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. If not for the function's involvement in business process analysis, control testing, risk management, and forensic accounting, the business landscape would likely be littered with significantly more disclosures of material weaknesses and revelations of noncompliance with the law.

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September 08, 2005

Ethics start at the top: expert

ANYONE who thinks Sarbanes-Oxley will stop the next Enron should think again. Tough corporate laws are all very well, says ethicist Steve Salbu, but you can't legislate honesty. "I think it was good something was done legislatively and I think it was good, if for no other reason than to instil some confidence in the marketplace, but I really don't see Sarbanes-Oxley being a true impediment to another Enron," Professor Salbu said.

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July 31, 2005

Blowing the whistle can lead to harsh aftermath, despite law

David Windhauser speaks from experience when he says pursuing a whistle-blower complaint under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is not for the faint of heart.

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July 31, 2005

Some whistle-blowers don't want lost jobs

Theresa Hagman is different from other fired whistle-blowers who are able to get their jobs back under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act: She doesn't want to go back to work for her former employer.

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July 08, 2005

The Ethical Side Of Compliance

Do corporate ethics programs make a difference? In a business world reflected in the media as a place where the rich get richer - and sometimes get prosecuted in the process - and where whistleblowers are vilified as tattletales, how does a company promote the ideal and the practice of "doing the right thing"? Can ethical behavior be legislated? Can it be taught?

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July 07, 2005

Good Records can Minimize Worker Claims

Almost every employer will face a discrimination claim someday. Federal, state and local laws protect nearly all employees from discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or workplace injury. They also protect employees from discrimination for whistleblowing, having their pay garnished and submitting workers' compensation claims. And the list goes on.

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July 06, 2005

Outrage grows at EU treatment of whistleblower

Euro-MPs expressed outrage yesterday over the treatment of an EU official driven from her job for exposing widespread fraud at the European Commission's Eurostat data office. So far, no Eurostat official has been punished for the diversion of ١m of taxpayer funds into illegal accounts over three years ago in a scam described as a "vast enterprise of looting" by investigators.

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June 28, 2005

New Organizational Communication Survey Reveals that "Bosses Aren't Listening"

Many organizations are failing when it comes to "upward communication" -- the feedback from employees to management -- according to the new Organizational Communication Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal's executive career site.

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June 22, 2005

Sarbanes-Oxley Also Affecting Private Companies

Improving controls and their documentation seems to be the major result fast-growing private companies are getting from applying provisions of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act to their business, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey of CEOs of 341 privately-held product and services companies. Updated governance procedures and strengthened codes of conduct and ethics are the other major reported benefits.

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June 21, 2005

Employers Beware: Sarbanes-Oxley Requires Reinstatement for Real

Three years after the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 were passed, it has become clear that litigation of Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower cases differs in several critical respects from litigation of other employment disputes. This article will provide a brief overview of the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower provisions, and then discuss how unique features of those provisions have led to results that would be unusual in other types of employment litigation.

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June 09, 2005

Corporate attitude change on governance is hard part

The work isn't done. In fact, the hardest task may still lie ahead. That's the prediction of Isaac Hunt, a former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission who was in town Thursday discussing the outlook for corporate governance. In 2002, Congress changed the law. Now, Hunt says, we have to change attitudes. Corporate cultures can't be legislated. Reforming them requires sending a persistent message that businesses must be vigilant in monitoring their corporate conduct.

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May 27, 2005

Failing grades for Section 404

Around a quarter of Section 404 filers are expected to receive failing grades, according to the newest internal controls research conducted by AuditAnalytics.com, a provider of industry research and market intelligence.

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May 24, 2005

Senate Intelligence Committee Examines Controversial Patriot Act Expansion Bill; Closed Door Vote to Be Held This Week

WASHINGTON - The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence met today to consider legislation that would reauthorize - and expand - the Patriot Act. The American Civil Liberties Union denounced attempts to expand, rather than critically review and reform, the controversial provisions set to expire at the end of the year. A proposal to make the law’s most controversial provisions permanent, and to expand it by allowing FBI agents issue their own search orders with no advance court approval, will likely be voted on in secret Thursday.

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May 06, 2005

SOX: what does it mean for UK companies?

Regularity compliance has always been an important part of the cost of running a business. Most market sectors, from healthcare and financial services to industrial manufacturing, are all subject to compliance and regulation by legislation and statute laws that impose demands on how they should conduct business and clearly state the penalties for non-compliance.

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May 01, 2005

Patriot Act: safeguards or free reign?

Despite the cloak of secrecy surrounding the Patriot Act, Congress is expected to extend provisions for hunting terrorists that were approved in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

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April 14, 2005

CFA Centre for Financial Market Integrity Unveils New Global Corporate Governance Manual for Investors

The CFA Centre for Financial Market Integrity, the thought-leadership and policy-setting arm of CFA Institute, today released The Corporate Governance of Listed Companies: A Manual for Investors, which is a comprehensive guide to help analysts and investors around the world assess a company's corporate governance policies and the associated risks they need to consider before making investment decisions.  The document also can be used by issuers of financial securities to develop a better understanding of what investors are looking for in well-governed companies. Specifically, the manual lists what investors and shareowners should consider in terms of board practices, management practices and shareowner rights as they evaluate whether the company's corporate governance structure creates risks that could affect shareowner wealth.

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April 14, 2005

Good Governance, Good Buys?

Can the quality of corporate governance determine stock performance over time? S&P says yes -- and points to 10 examples. Ever since the fallout of financial scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and other well-known and lesser-known companies, investors have been paying more attention to corporate governance than at any other time in history. But little, in Standard & Poor's view, has been said about how to incorporate the evaluation of governance into an investment strategy -- and whether it even pays off to do so.

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April 12, 2005

Employee Morale Threatens Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance, Driving Companies to Automate Manual Processes, Reports New Oversig

Oversight Systems Inc. today announced the results of the 2005 Oversight Systems Financial Executive Report on Sarbanes-Oxley, a survey of more than 200 financial executives. Nearly half of financial executives feel the biggest issue related to SOX compliance is the need to maintain the morale of the employees responsible for compliance. Reducing internal and external costs ranked as the second most frequently cited challenge to ongoing compliance.

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March 16, 2005

Corporate responsibility and corporate covernance

The accounting scandals of 2001 and thereafter have had far-reaching ramifications. Governments have introduced new legislation, new codes of conduct have been developed and corporate boards have been 're-balanced' to include more independent members. The three most important aspects of CR for the executives surveyed were ethical staff behaviour (67%), good corporate governance (58%) and transparency (51%). For institutional investors, transparency was the top concern (68%), followed by high standards of corporate governance (62%) and ethical staff behaviour (46%). Labour practices received a much lower score among investors (23%) than among executives (44%).

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March 11, 2005

Non US companies win delay for Sarbanes-Oxley compliance

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has extended the deadline for non US companies to comply with a vital clause of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to July 2006.

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March 07, 2005

UK highest in corporate governance rating among 23 nations: survey

Corporate governance in the UK scored highest among 23 nations in the latest survey by an international governance rating agency, while 34 of the 3,220 companies rated a perfect 10.  Japan and Greece ranked at the bottom of the country ratings, GMI said. Canada was second and governance in the United States was third, followed by Australia and Ireland.

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February 02, 2005

Best Companies Lists

Each year, the Great Place to Work® Institute produces various Best Companies lists in the U.S. including Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For"® in America.  Companies are selected for the Best Companies lists primarily on the basis of their employees' responses to the Great Place to Work®  Trust Index®, a proprietary employee survey developed by the Great Place to Work® Institute.  Further information used for selection to the list is provided by completion of the Great Place to Work® Culture Audit©, a two part management questionnaire, also developed by the Great Place to Work® Institute.

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January 31, 2005

Institute of Corporate Directors Announces Winners of 2005 Fellowship Awards

The Institute of Corporate Directors ("ICD") today announced the winners of its 2005 Fellowship Awards. Annually, the ICD recognizes directors who have distinguished themselves by bringing sound governance leadership to Canadian boardrooms. "Recognizing and paying tribute to the 'best of the best' directors in Canada is important because good corporate governance is increasingly being viewed as a competitive advantage to attract capital," said Bernie Wilson, Chair of the ICD and Vice-Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers. "Canada would benefit greatly from more directors like these, champions of best practices in governance."

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January 27, 2005

SEC chairman to give foreign issuers a break

LONDON -- William Donaldson, chairman of the SEC, said earlier this week that the commission might push back the July 2005 deadline for compliance with Section 404 to about four or five months. 'I have asked the staff of the commission to consider whether to recommend that we delay the effective date of internal controls of financial reporting requirements for non-US companies,' Donaldson announced at the London School of Economics.

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January 27, 2005

Former Ernst + Young audit partner jailed for Sarbanes-Oxley violations, reports US Attorney

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California announced that Thomas Trauger, 42,  was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison, was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo two years of supervised release for his part in altering and falsifying accounting records with the intent to impede a federal investigation.

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January 25, 2005

Canadian Organizations Must Work Harder To Productively Engage Employees

Canadian organizations are missing a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through building productive engagement in the workforce, according to a new survey of employee attitudes by leading Canadian human capital consultancy Watson Wyatt Canada. The Watson Wyatt WorkCanada 2004/2005 survey shows employers must work harder to engage and enable employees to drive productivity and business results.

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January 24, 2005

Accountants are hot commodity

With the demise of Arthur Andersen well in the past and increased government regulation of public companies’ accounting practices, accounting professionals, particularly CPAs, are in high demand and employers are shelling out plenty to get them.

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January 18, 2005

Industry picks up pieces as Ebbers trial begins

In corporate history, few executives have helped create - and then presided over the destruction of - as much wealth as Bernard Ebbers, the former chairman of WorldCom.

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January 14, 2005

Nortel heads into Sarbanes-Oxley headwind

Former Nortel Networks chief executive Frank Dunn and his financial executives are alleged to have manipulated their company's accounts -- only a few months after the passage in mid-2002 of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill in the U.S. This is the landmark legislation that compels chief executives to certify their company's accounts are accurate or risk substantial penalties.

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January 11, 2005

Anti Sarbanes-Oxley mood rises in Europe

Over the past year, corporate governance has become a phrase that is bandied about by all and is sending shivers down the spines of corporate executives worldwide. Sarbanes-Oxley is the piece of legislation that most large companies are worried about – it was intended to improve the transparency with which public companies in the US conduct their businesses, but even private companies in the US are feeling pressure to comply with its requirements.

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January 09, 2005

WorldCom settlement could have long-reaching effect on corporate boards

Corporate board members are likely to be far more diligent in monitoring executive perfomance, now that 10 former WorldCom board members have reportedly agreed to pay $18 million US out of their own pockets as part of a shareholder lawsuit settlement. However, experts warned Thursday that some business leaders may forego serving altogether due to the liability risk.

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December 22, 2004

Look Back: Privacy, governance dominate services sector

The year in professional services was marked largely by concerns over new privacy legislation and increasing demands on corporate governance.

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December 21, 2004

Sarbanes-Oxley Update from The Goodwin Group: No More `Help' Expected From Washington

Georgia public companies worried that the 109th Congress will toughen the Sarbanes-Oxley Act when legislators reconvene in Washington Jan. 4 have some good news and some bad news, according to corporate governance expert Joe D. Goodwin of Atlanta. "The good news is Congress apparently is not going to re-open Sarbanes-Oxley in order to toughen it up."

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December 02, 2004

Large businesses make gains with combined governance code

Almost two-thirds of the largest companies are fully compliant with the combined code on corporate governance and their smaller peers are catching up fast, according to research by accountants Grant Thornton.

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December 01, 2004

SEC gives some companies a break

Most U.S. companies - although not the largest ones - were given a reprieve Tuesday from requirements imposed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals that they and their auditors certify that the companies' internal financial controls are adequate.

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December 01, 2004

Regulators give little ground on Sarbanes-Oxley deadline

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday extended its deadline for internal control reporting for some companies liable to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Act, extending the time they have to get IT their systems in order.

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November 30, 2004

SEC Postpones Filing Date for Internal Control Reports for Some Accelerated Filers

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today issued an exemptive order to grant certain accelerated filers up to an additional 45 days to include in their annual reports management’s report on internal control over financial reporting and the related auditor’s report on management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting.

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November 30, 2004

Fewer Than One-Third of Audit Committees Are Implementing Key Practices That Lead to Higher Performance Ratings of the A

As audit committees struggle implementing the requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley, fewer than one-third implement a majority of practices that lead to higher ratings of the financial audit process, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Audit Committee Best Practices Report(SM) released today.

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November 29, 2004

First Big Sarbanes-Oxley Test Coming For $75M-Plus Market Cap Companies

The first real test of Sarbanes-Oxley, hurriedly passed a Congressional knee-jerk reaction to massive blue chip fraud at Enron, Worldcom, now part of MCI, Inc. (MCIP), Tyco (TYC), HealthSouth and others, is coming.

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November 03, 2004

New UK corporate governance law receive Royal Assent

The UK’s Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill has received Royal Assent and will help protect Britain against Enron style corporate scandals - as well as creating a new type of company specifically designed for social enterprises.

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October 25, 2004

FRC consults on the use of Turnbull to comply with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The FRC has today published for comment a draft guide to UK and Irish companies registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the use of the Turnbull report to comply with SEC requirements to report on internal controls over financial reporting.

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October 21, 2004

Leader: Sarbanes-Oxley - another law to ignore?

"Like you can't legislate for morality, you can't legislate for good behaviour." These were the words of Wes Rehm, senior vice president for SAS, pointing out that all the business intelligence and management software in the world plus the most obedient adherence to the letter of Sarbanes-Oxley and other compliance laws will not eliminate fraud and corporate corruption altogether. "But it will raise the bar," he added, during an interview with silicon.com earlier this week.

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October 19, 2004

New forum to monitor corporate governance practices across EU

The Internal Market Commissioner has announced the creation of a European Forum comprising 15 corporate governance experts. Its role is to foster the exchange of best practice among Member States.

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October 19, 2004

Sarbanes Oxley curbs M&A activity

Acquisition activity is slowing because of companies' concerns over Sarbanes Oxley compliance at target businesses, according to new research.

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October 15, 2004

Gap in corporate governance monitoring, claims survey

Only about one third - 34 per cent - of board members and top executives believe that their companies are proficient at monitoring critical non-financial indicators of corporate performance, according to a new report.

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October 10, 2004

Alcock introduces 'tougher' whistleblower bill

Treasury Board President Reg Alcock has reintroduced whistleblower legislation in Parliament aimed at protecting public servants who disclose wrongdoing.

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October 05, 2004

Study criticizes corporate governance in Russia

Slow progress on corporate governance and the government crackdown on OAO Yukos have shaken investor confidence in Russia, concludes a study by a global association of financial institutions.

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September 23, 2004

European Companies Taking a Faltering Approach to Sarbanes-Oxley

A.R.C. Morgan has released the findings of their European Companies Sarbanes-Oxley Benchmarking survey - the survey indicates that more than 69 percent of European companies interviewed are only at the very early stages of planning their Sarbanes-Oxley section 404 project. The survey also reveals that European companies are not paying heed to the whistleblower provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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September 14, 2004

U.S. Companies Take Lead on Corporate Governance

U.S. companies have taken top honors in a global comparison of corporate governance standards, surpassing the U.K. and Canada. The study confirms a link between share price performance and adherence to corporate governance principles. GMI said the shares of the top 26 companies in the survey outperformed the S&P 500 by 10% over five years.

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August 17, 2004

Deloitte & Touche LLP Issues 'Taking Control,' New Guidance Manual for Sarbanes-Oxley

As the Sarbanes-Oxley Act marks its second anniversary, Deloitte & Touche LLP, one of the nation's leading professional services firms, says many public companies are struggling to meet the upcoming compliance deadline for reporting on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, as required under section 404 of the law.

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August 15, 2004

Boards work harder

Rising costs, more frequent director meetings identified in Sarbanes-Oxley study. With the first real test of public company accounting reforms four months away, corporate boards are moving deliberately, working hard and staying put.

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August 14, 2004

Corporate state of mind

Corporate governance is a state of mind. We need rules, but all the rules in the world don't lead to ethical behavior and good corporate governance. Given the scandals of recent times, if the business community is going to change skeptical public and political attitudes toward business and those running corporations, the business community needs to exercise its own ethical muscle.

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August 09, 2004

Companies just paying lip service to Sox

A recent survey of senior financial executives found most mid-size US public and private companies are having difficulties achieving the key corporate governance requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley. Many of the survey findings show companies are still relying on old practices that are not in line with today's higher corporate governance standards.

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August 02, 2004

Business Leaders Address Responsible Corporate Governance During 3rd Annual National Symposium on Corporate Responsibili

SEC, Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Sentencing Commission, U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. Department of Justice representatives will Address Corporate Leaders at National Symposium on Corporate Responsibility organized by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, in collaboration with Microsoft Corporation

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July 30, 2004

An ounce of prevention for Sarbanes-Oxley

For U.S. public companies, complying with the new corporate governance rules of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has been about as unpleasant as doing one's taxes -- it's hard, it's a pain, it takes a lot of time, and sometimes help is needed. Oh, and there's also a due date, which needs to be met -- or else. For many companies, that date is November 15: less than 4 months away.

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July 14, 2004

Sarbanes Oxley almost integrated into Corporate Governance Strategy

By a margin of nearly two to one, large U.S. companies have made compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act part of their regular corporate governance approach and have integrated it with other regulatory activities, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Management Barometer.

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July 08, 2004

Europe faces Enron legacy

US regulators have come down hard on companies to avoid a repeat of multi-billion dollar disasters like Enron, Andersen and Worldcom. But European companies are now getting caught up in US red tape too.  Senior executives of Europe's largest companies face the prospect of huge fines and lengthy jail sentences if their firms do not comply with tough new US laws designed to prevent a repeat of the corporate scandals that this week saw former Enron boss Kenneth Lay indicted.

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July 07, 2004

ACFE Releases 2004 Fraud Statistics: Reinforces Need for Sarbanes-Oxley Requirements; Preventative Measures

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the leading provider of anti-fraud training and education worldwide, announced today the release of the 2004 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, a comprehensive report that sheds light on occupational fraud and abuse while offering stark lessons and valuable insights about its prevention and detection.  Based on 2004 report findings, the typical organization loses 6% of its annual revenues to occupational fraud. If multiplied by the US Gross Domestic Product, which in 2003 totaled just under $11 trillion, it would translate into $660 billion in annual fraud losses.

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June 30, 2004

Is There More Corporate Dirt to Be Dredged Up in Wake of Enron?

Whistle-blowers may pay a heavy price, but Lynn Brewer, a former executive at the US energy titan, would do it all again. She believes other Enrons' loom ... Long before this was made public and become the sensational "Enron scandal", Brewer was working with class action lawyers and calling the US government to blow the whistle. Brewer blew the whistle five times. Every time, her concerns were dismissed.

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June 22, 2004

Mutual fund abuse in Canada needs prompt action

After a series of mutual fund scandals broke last year in the United States, the main message from the Canadian industry was that things were different here. We had better safeguards, and investors were better protected against abuse. Back in December -- as U.S. regulators seemed to be exposing wrongdoing daily -- industry spokesman Tom Hockin said Canadians "should be encouraged by the differences in the systems, procedures and structure of our markets."

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June 16, 2004

Sarbanes-Oxley Act is a business opportunity, not a burden

Sir, Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley are right to stick to their guns ("Sarbanes and Oxley hit back at critics", June 14) and scorn the moans of assorted chief executives about the cost of implementing the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).  The argument that SOX is discouraging new New York Stock Exchange listings is spurious - the European Union is drafting a European equivalent for SOX, as are a number of other legislatures around the world.

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June 15, 2004

Good Governance, the Best Investment

Companies with good corporate governance outperform." That's the investment guideline of James H. Huguet, co-CEO and chief investment officer of Great Companies -- and his Great Companies America fund (IGAAX) has proven that rule by doing better than the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index since its inception.

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June 15, 2004

CIO fails Sarbanes-Oxley

Apparently a very large American corporation, who I will not name, asked their internal audit department to review their compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), especially section 404 which starts to kick in this year. They failed through lack of controls in the IT department and now the CIO's neck is on the block.  Before you stop reading this because it is just a US problem, remember that if you are part of a subsidiary of a US corporation or even if you have some relationship you will be bound by SOX. Secondly, similar legislation is appearing in other jurisdictions including Europe. Thirdly, the principles behind SOX will become part of corporate good practice in any event.

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June 14, 2004

…and now Rating Agencies assess corporate governance

It is interesting to note that at least one of the credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor (S&P), has commenced scoring companies for corporate governance. Currently, this activity is confined to some of the large European multi-national companies. Presumably, this new stream of business has commenced on the basis that corporate governance will become as important an influence as credit ratings in assessing the financial strength and investment value of a company.

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June 10, 2004

2004 Hackett Group Research Confirms Companies are Responding To Sarbanes-Oxley, Dramatically Improving Forecasting...

Largely as a by-product of their Sarbanes-Oxley compliance efforts, companies have dramatically improved the reliability of their financial forecasting over the past year, according to 2004 Book of Numbers research into world-class finance performance from The Hackett Group, a business advisory firm and an Answerthink company (Nasdaq:ANSR).  Findings from The Hackett Group's 2004 Finance Book of Numbers show that more than two thirds of all companies said they were now confident with their financial forecasting and reporting outputs. Only 9 percent of average companies made the same claim just a year ago.

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June 08, 2004

OSC's criminality crusade just what the markets need

The charges laid Friday against former executives of Atlas Cold Storage have a significance beyond the specifics of the alleged financial manipulation at the refrigerated warehouse firm.  The Ontario Securities Commission is pursuing the Atlas case in provincial court as a quasi-criminal matter. Depending on the charges, proceeding that way carries the possibility of jail sentences for violations of the Ontario Securities Act. Indeed, the OSC has recently unveiled three cases that are heading to provincial court, exponentially expanding the number of criminal securities cases under way in the province. (The charges are called quasi-criminal, even if jail sentences can be imposed, because they are laid under the provincial securities act, rather than the federal Criminal Code.)

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June 03, 2004

United States: Corporate Compliance and Ethics Programs: A New Generation

On April 30, 2004, the U.S. Sentencing Commission (the Commission) sent to Congress its proposed changes to the Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (the Amendments) which establish the framework for compliance and ethics programs. The Amendments expand and clarify the requirements for an "effective" compliance and ethics program. These changes will require entities to evaluate whether their existing compliance and ethics programs meet the new criteria and to make appropriate modifications if they don’t. The Amendments are likely to lead to a new generation of compliance and ethics programs. Even the name, "Compliance Program," used in the former guidance has been changed to reflect the new requirements. Programs are now to be evaluated as "Compliance and Ethics Programs."

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June 02, 2004

Going Beyond Sarbanes-Oxley: Goizueta Directors Institute Summit Underscores Ethics and Corporate Values

Executive compensation controversies, such as the one featuring former NYSE Chair and CEO Richard Grasso, will not occur in the future if directors ask the right questions. Corporate directors, at the forefront of corporate governance since the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in 2002, must raise the bar on ethical behavior if U.S. investors are to restore their faith and trust in big business, say members of the Goizueta Directors Institute at Emory University. But SOX doesn't go far enough, they agreed at the Institute's annual summit, "Creating a New Culture: Balancing Director Oversight and Management Entrepreneurship...

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May 31, 2004

Investment the reward for compliance to corporate code

DESPITE the considerable publicity given to corporate governance issues, almost half of the companies in a recent survey by Grant Thornton say they remain unconvinced about the real value of investments in corporate governance compliance.

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May 20, 2004

The Extended Reach of Sarbanes-Oxley - Best Practices for Private Companies

No one in the business world can ignore the press generated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which mandated various reforms for public companies with respect to financial reporting and corporate governance practices. Most likely, if you are a director or officer of a private company, you are aware of the impact Sarbanes-Oxley could have with respect to private companies as well.

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May 18, 2004

Hewitt Associates Study Shows More Engaged Employees Drive Improved Business Performance and Return

A new study by global human resources outsourcing and consulting firm Hewitt Associates (NYSE:HEW) shows that employee engagement levels at high-growth companies exceed those of lower-growth companies by more than 20 percent. The study also suggests that higher-growth organizations focus more energy and attention on employee engagement than their counterparts.

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May 06, 2004

Whistle-Blower Wins Claim Against Atlantic Coast Airlines

A whistle-blower who alleged that she was fired for exposing a scheme to funnel extra pay to leaders of the pilots union at Dulles-based Atlantic Coast Airlines has won a claim against the airline under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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April 23, 2004

Regulators encouraging debate on corporate governance disclosure

Three of Canada's largest provincial securities regulators are proposing an alternative way to improve the disclosure of corporate governance practices by Canadian companies, saying that more public debate is needed about the best regulatory approach to take.

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April 22, 2004

OECD Countries Agree New Corporate Governance Principles

The governments of the 30 OECD countries have approved a revised version of the OECD's Principles of Corporate Governance adding new recommendations for good practice in corporate behaviour with a view to rebuilding and maintaining public trust in companies and stock markets.

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April 13, 2004

NASA told changes must start at the top

A new report said top leaders must adjust their attitudes and refocus on safety.  The keys to making profound, lasting changes to NASA's safety culture are the attitudes and actions of the agency's top leaders, according to a report released Monday from a private company hired to outline a plan.

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April 12, 2004

Good Corporate Governance may lower Directors and Officers insurance

American International Group Inc., Chubb Corp. and four other insurers agreed to expand liability coverage for executives and directors of companies that submit to a corporate governance assessment.

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April 01, 2004

Governance rules go into effect today

Ontario Securities Commission chairman David Brown says he too often is compared to Eliot Spitzer, New York's aggressive attorney-general who has stoked controversy in the United States for his pursuit of white-collar criminals. In an interview to review new corporate governance rules that go into effect today, Brown defended the OSC, which has been criticized by some for not tackling corporate wrongdoing to the same extent as Spitzer.

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March 22, 2004

US approach to corporate governance looks set to be introduced in Europe

The European Union (EU) proposals for improvement in corporate governance in the slipstream of Europe's own corporate scandals take much the same approach as deployed in the USA in its Sarbanes-Oxley Act, primarily through improvement in auditing and accounting standards, oversight and responsibilities. Perhaps, the key difference ...

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March 22, 2004

Mixed Report On SOX Compliance Impact And Progress

Bamboo Consulting, an independent research firm, in partnership with Klariti.com, today announced the results of a new survey of CFOs, CIO’s and business executives about their IT strategies to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.  Over 73 percent of publicly-traded companies have struggled to determine the appropriate tool for capturing employee feedback. Employees have identified confidentiality and anonymity for ‘whistleblowing’ activities as their main concerns.

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March 15, 2004

Sarbanes-Oxley making headway with private firms

 As publicly traded companies rush to comply with internal control requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, private companies are increasingly being pushed to clean up their own accounting houses.  In some cases, it is just sound business. For others -- such as pre-IPO companies or those issuing debt instruments, such as hospitals -- compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley may be required.

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March 10, 2004

Enronitis: A Challenge To Presidential Candidates To Encourage Employee Representation On Corporate Boards

Enron, WorldCom and the other crises of corporate accountability are about more than a few bad apples. They're about a profound failure of corporate governance. And there's a key solution few Americans -- especially presidential candidates -- are yet talking about: putting worker directors on corporate boards.

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March 08, 2004

Guilty Verdicts Give Executives a New Focus: Risk of Prison

In the last two years, prosecutors and juries have repeatedly sent corporate America the message that white-collar crime is a crime after all, starting with the prosecution of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which resulted in its conviction and demise in 2002. Since then, dozens of executives at Enron, Tyco International and other big public companies have been charged with fraud, obstruction of justice and other crimes. Many have pleaded guilty; others are being tried or awaiting trial. Now the prosecutions may have reached a critical mass that will make executives think twice before lying to shareholders and federal officials, experts on white-collar crime say.

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March 01, 2004

Corporate Ethics: CIBC-Style Programs Work; Focus Above All on Accounting and Senior Executive Fraud

Canadian business leaders agree that corporate ethics initiatives such as CIBC’s new “ethics hotline” will help improve the ethics of businesses ...

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February 28, 2004

Pressure increases on independent directors amid corporate governance scrutiny

A year ago, SBC Communications Inc. successfully blocked shareholder resolutions seeking to link executive pay to performance, arguing that the measures would scare away talent and hurt the telecommunications giant’s competitiveness.  Twelve months later, SBC has changed its mind and is implementing a new executive compensation system. One reason for the change: independent board director James Henderson.

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February 24, 2004

Extension of Compliance Dates Regarding Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Requirements

The Commission has extended the compliance dates for amendments to its rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that were adopted on June 5, 2003, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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February 20, 2004

Governance codes are no substitute for trust

On rare occasions, let it be modestly suggested, even Donald Gordon might be wrong - or at least only partially right. Were it only otherwise.  Buried deep in his Liberty International chairman's statement, published last week, Gordon fires another broadside at the Higgs Review on the role and effectiveness of non-executive directors in the UK.  It is equally applicable to the King Committee report on corporate governance in South Africa.

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February 18, 2004

Corporate Governance Principles for New Zealand

The Securities Commission has given its report on Corporate Governance Principles for New Zealand to the Minister of Commerce. The report follows extensive public consultation last year. "The Commission has developed nine high level principles for good corporate governance in New Zealand," Commission Chairman Jane Diplock said. "There was strong support for the concept of a principles-based approach to corporate governance, and the final document is in line with the public views that came from the consultation process."

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February 10, 2004

Anonymous Charges Lead to CFO Suspension

Investigation was largely completed when the finance chief allegedly provided a misdated document.

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February 06, 2004

New Terrain

Post-Enron reforms have made dramatic alterations to the landscape of corporate governance. Boards, their committees, and internal auditors now have greater responsibilities and powers. How will these reforms change the CFO's job?

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February 03, 2004

Whistle-Blower Case Said to Result in First Decision under Sarbanes-Oxley Act

And it seems certain that corporate attorneys and chief financial officers nationwide will study the ground-breaking results.  In a ruling posted Thursday, U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Stephen Purcell ordered the Bank of Floyd and holding company Cardinal Bankshares Corp. to rehire, with back pay, former chief financial officer David Welch. Purcell issued the ruling from the Labor Department's Washington, D.C., office.  Cardinal Bankshares fired Welch in October 2002 after he aired concerns about its financial reporting, alleged insider trading, and internal accounting controls. Welch subsequently filed a complaint with the Department of Labor.

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January 30, 2004

Shareholders take comfort in Sarbanes Oxley: Poll

The results of a nationwide poll measuring individual investors’ attitudes to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as the level of penalty they would like the law to apply found that the majority of stockholders want to see punishment for those who violate the law, proving that investors are looking for good corporate governance and adherence to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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January 20, 2004

SEC Charges Grant Thornton Over Audit

 Securities regulators Tuesday charged two accounting firms and three executives for allegedly signing off on a fraudulent 1998 audit of MCA Financial Corp., a bankrupt Michigan mortgage banking company.  Grant Thornton LLP and one of its partners were charged along with Doeren Mayhew & Co, PC, a Troy, Mich., accounting firm, and two of its directors. The SEC said the accounting firms jointly audited MCA Financial and gave it a clean opinion even though they knew its 1998 financial report omitted millions of dollars of related party payments.  SEC enforcement division director Stephen Cutler faulted Grant Thornton's actions in a statement, saying the Chicago-based firm "rented out its name and prestige" without taking pains to ensure the audit was properly performed. He said Doeren Mayhew and its auditors didn't bring "requisite care and skepticism" to the audit.

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January 16, 2004

Trying times

Enron’s former finance chief has admitted two fraud charges and will get ten years’ jail. It is a good start to the year for prosecutors pursuing America’s biggest financial scandals

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January 16, 2004

Still Another Accounting Scandal, but With a Difference

 In the world of accounting scandals, Adecco may turn out to be a new breed, one that the reforms made in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are far more likely to uncover and eventually prevent. That breed involves not enormous fraud but bad management that keeps the company, and therefore its investors, from knowing its financial condition.

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January 16, 2004

Proposal holds directors to higher standards

Expectations of corporate directors are set to rise under new governance guidelines being proposed by the country's securities regulators. Boards will be asked to develop written codes for business conduct and ethics, establish completely independent compensation committees and ensure the integrity of top executives, according a new draft policy being released today.

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January 15, 2004

Parma splat - Europe's corporate governance

What are the lessons from the scandal at Europe's largest dairy-products group?

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January 13, 2004

Startups feel 'chill' of U.S. act

New corporate governance rules will drive down the number of companies that go public and even prompt big-name public companies to revert to private life, an Ottawa legal expert predicts.

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January 13, 2004

Startups feel 'chill' of U.S. act

New corporate governance rules will drive down the number of companies that go public and even prompt big-name public companies to revert to private life, an Ottawa legal expert predicts.

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January 08, 2004

FRC warns companies to deliver on combined code

Sir Bryan Nicholson, chairman of the Financial Reporting Council, has warned companies that their audit committees should make 'a serious effort' to implement their new functions under the combined code this year.

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January 08, 2004

Scandal prompts EU call for audit reforms

Rules for auditors across the European Union are set to be changed in the wake of the Parmalat scandal, following moves by the European Commission to ensure that group auditors take responsibility for all aspects of companies' accounts.  The Commission is also considering requiring each European Union member state to set up US-style accounting oversight boards.

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January 07, 2004

Plenty of crying over spilt milk

Almost a month after the Parmalat scandal first broke into the open, the vast scale of the fraud at the insolvent food and dairy group is becoming clear. The company has been compared to Enron, but there are crucial differences.

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January 07, 2004

UPDATE 1-EU considers tougher auditing rules post-Parmalat

BRUSSELS, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The European Commission is considering beefing up rules on company audits in the wake of a financial scandal at Italian food group Parmalat, a spokesman said on Wednesday.  Next month, Internal Markets Commissioner Frits Bolkestein will propose a revised directive on corporate governance -- known as the eighth company law directive -- and this will draw on lessons from the multi-billion-euro Parmalat fraud case.

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December 31, 2003

Stench of scandals lingers

When milk turns sour, it gives off a sickening stench that takes a long time to fade. Such is the odour emanating from Parmalat, the Italian dairy giant that is fast becoming the Enron of 2003-04.  The aroma coming out of Italy is the familiar scent of scandal that has wafted through the corporate world for the past two years, and shows no signs of abating.

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December 31, 2003

10 steps to a better workplace

If there is one word managers should think about more than any other as they pen resolutions in hopes of a prosperous 2004, it is this: Communication.

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December 30, 2003

Milking lessons

It seems that a massive fraud was behind the collapse of Italy’s Parmalat. But how did it happen and who benefited?  When Enrico Bondi, a turnaround expert, arrived at Parmalat in mid-December, he thought his job was merely to help restructure the finances of Italy’s biggest dairy group. Within days, however, events moved faster than even the shrewd Mr Bondi can have predicted. First, Calisto Tanzi, Parmalat’s founder and boss, was ousted in a brutal show of strength by the company’s main banks. Then Mr Bondi began to uncover the truth behind Parmalat’s strange balance sheet, and a bad story got much worse.

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December 29, 2003

Governance is now name of the game

It used to be that the greatest danger of corporate governance was that it could bore you to death.  Over the past year, though, everyone from Conrad Black down to an executive clique at obscure little Vector Aerospace Corp. discovered that once aroused the beast can bite -- often with serious consequences.

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December 29, 2003

A Snitch in Time

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December 25, 2003

Scandal Outrages Europeans

The widening scandal at Parmalat, the Italian food giant, has been termed, perhaps inevitably, Europe's Enron.  The question is: Will it force the kind of corporate housecleaning that the collapse of Enron did two years ago in the United States?

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December 22, 2003

Business Roundtable Files Comments Urging SEC Not to Proceed with Director Election Rules

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 22, 2003--The Business Roundtable will today file comments urging the Securities and Exchange Commission not to proceed with its Proposed Election Contest Rules, citing concerns that the proposed rules exceed the Commission's authority, would initiate sweeping and harmful changes in corporate governance and fail to achieve the Commission's objective of improving the proxy process at unresponsive companies.

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December 09, 2003

United States: The Impact Of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act On Nonpublic Companies

For the most part, the sweeping Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOXA) applies only to "issuers," i.e., companies that must file periodic reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The changes intended by the new law are so broad and fundamental that it will be many years before they are all incorporated and fully appreciated. Over and above the intended changes, it is inevitable that some collateral, and perhaps unintended, effects and consequences will result as well. It is this broader, potential impact that should give rise to concern among those companies that are not issuers under the SOXA definition.

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December 05, 2003

Companies bill includes director jail threat

New proposals contained in the companies bill will threaten directors with jail if they refuse to co-operate with financial investigations. The bill aims to boost confidence in corporate governance standards by improving the reliability of financial reporting and independence of auditors.

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December 04, 2003

Chartered Accountants Adopt New Auditor Independence Standard

Chartered Accountants have voted to adopt new auditor independence requirements that will hold auditors to higher professional and ethical standards, thereby further protecting the public interest.  The new standard, the result of a rigorous review, consultation and approval process lasting more than a year, reflects the features of the standard issued by the International Federation of Accountants in 2001, combined with the rigor of United States’ Sarbanes-Oxley legislation and SEC requirements for public companies. The core principle of the new standard is that every effort must be made to eliminate all real or perceived threats to the auditor’s independence.

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December 04, 2003

Canada: The Risks of Being a Director

Despite the intensity of continuing public discussion of corporate governance issues, remarkably little attention has been paid to the liability position of individual directors. We believe this will change. Directors are increasingly realizing that "it can’t happen to me" is a dangerous and even foolhardy approach. It can happen to you, no matter how conscientious you are.

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December 01, 2003

KPMG Survey: More Organizations Detecting Fraud, Spurred by New Regulations and Investor Demand

Spurred by new government regulations and demands by investors, more companies today are working to uncover fraud, finding it, and taking action against those who commit fraud, according to a new survey by U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG LLP.  75 percent of companies report fraud, compared with 62 percent in '98; But 22 percent of companies may fall short in response to new regulations.

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November 27, 2003

FDs urge tougher line on Higgs

Support is growing for a switch to US-style enforcement of corporate governance rules after Accountancy Age research revealed that nearly half of FDs are not confident in the combined code on corporate governance.

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November 24, 2003

World Economic Forum Launches Corporate Governance Initiative With A Difference

Geneva, Switzerland – The World Economic Forum is aiming to make a contribution to the field of corporate governance with a new initiative: The Global Corporate Governance Dialogue. The purpose of this dialogue is to contribute to the improvement of quality and coordination of corporate governance frameworks around the world, exploring particularly the international dimensions of the issue and using a workshop-based approach.

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November 22, 2003

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November 20, 2003

SEC subpoenas Hollinger

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has sent subpoenas to Hollinger International Inc. and its audit committee, and the Ontario Securities Commission is also probing the firm, as the crisis surrounding Conrad Black's complex media empire mounts. Regulators on both sides of the border are now looking into certain of the firm's dealings, barely two days after it shook up its management ranks amid revelations of unauthorized payments to top company executives.

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November 20, 2003

Survey Reveals Clients Deeply Dissatisfied With Professional Service Providers

Despite efforts at reform brought about by corporate governance concerns and the Enron accounting scandal, corporate executives remain deeply dissatisfied with the work product provided by their accounting, legal, IT and other consultants according to a new survey. As a result, according to the survey, 1 in 9 professional services or consulting relationships could be terminated in the next 12 months.

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November 20, 2003

The guy who blew the whistle on Putnam

When he started working at Putnam Investments' Quincy, Mass., call center in March 2000, Peter Scannell had only a layman's knowledge of how a mutual fund company works. But he knew from his days working at a casino in Lake Tahoe how to tell the good guys from the bad. And it wasn't long before Scannell decided the good guys weren't necessarily the ones who signed his checks. Alarmed, Scannell blew the whistle to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which didn't act, and then to Massachusetts regulators, who did. What they heard led to state civil fraud charges against Putnam, the resignation of its CEO, Lawrence Lasser, and the withdrawal of more than $20 billion from its funds.

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November 18, 2003

Whistleblower tells students to have personal integrity

The label of whistleblower is not flattering, Cynthia Cooper told accounting students Monday at Mississippi State University. Cooper, the internal auditor credited with uncovering $3.85 billion of fraud at WorldCom, said whistleblowers often lose their jobs, their families and even face bankruptcy. Cooper said she wasn't ostracized by people at WorldCom when she uncovered the company had listed line costs as a capital expense instead of an operating expense to make it look profitable when it was actually losing money.

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November 17, 2003

Nonprofits feel impact of reforms - Agencies' fiscal affairs getting more scrutiny

There's no disputing the fact that Western New York's nonprofit community is a financial force to be reckoned with: The 262 agencies in Business First's Million Dollar Nonprofit report have combined revenues of nearly $4 billion.  Taking those dollars in total, no one would question the need to ensure the agencies' financial responsibility. Taken separately, every one of the agencies in this year's report would meet the $1 million threshold for proposed financial reporting and anti-fraud standards proposed by state legislators.

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November 14, 2003

United Kingdom: Corporate Governance Risks

The 21st century has seen an unprecedented surge in corporate scandals. As a result investor confidence has slumped and governments around the world are introducing reforms to corporate governance. The question now being asked is what effect this combination of scandal and reform is having on the liability of UK companies and directors.

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November 14, 2003

More companies heeding Combined Code

The largest listed companies are starting to heed the recommendations of the Combined Code on corporate governance, according to a new survey.

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November 10, 2003

United Kingdom: New Governance Rules For NYSE Listed Companies

The corporate governance regimes of the US and UK have grown closer to each other as a result of the recent reforms in both countries, although many differences remain in the details. The attached table compares the new NYSE rules that affect all UK companies with an NYSE listing with the Combined Code requirements in the UK.

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November 06, 2003

SEC Approves NASDAQ and NYSE Corporate Governance Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved new rules proposed and adopted by the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Stock Market requiring widespread strengthening of corporate governance standards for listed companies.

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November 05, 2003

Scrushy the first CEO charged with violating the Sarbanes-Oxley law

NEW YORK - For want of a few cents a share, Richard Scrushy, the co-founder and former chief executive of HealthSouth, turned his whole life into a crime, according to a federal indictment handed down yesterday.

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November 03, 2003

Effective Employee Communication Linked to Greater Shareholder Returns

Employers looking to increase shareholder returns and reduce employee turnover might want to look at how well they are communicating with workers.   A new Watson Wyatt study shows that companies with the most effective employee communication programs provided a 26 percent total return ...

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October 22, 2003

CSAM hires Brumby for corporate governance

Credit Suisse Asset Management has hired Richard Brumby as corporate governance head in London, in a move that illustrates the growing importance of shareholder activism for fund managers.

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October 20, 2003

Barclays under pressure to explain Barrett's promotion

The chief executive of one of Barclays' leading shareholders on Monday called on the bank to explain its decision to elevate Matt Barrett to chairman, (pictured) a move that goes against one of the main recommendations of the Higgs review of corporate governance standards.

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October 18, 2003

Non-profit directors also feeling effects

Last year's Sarbanes-Oxley Act aimed to clean up boardrooms of public companies, but even directors at non-profit groups are feeling an impact.

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October 14, 2003

CEOs split on corporate governance rules

Only one in five chief executives strongly believe that new corporate governance rules enacted following US business scandals will improve ethical behaviour, according to a new survey.  However, chief executives overwhelmingly believe that the new emphasis on better corporate governance will be a permanent fixture in the business landscape rather than a passing trend, the survey found.

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October 14, 2003

BLOWING THE WHISTLE

The number of workers blowing the whistle on fraud, abuse or unfair practices has doubled over the past five years.  Most complaints are being made about financial misconduct or safety risks, a new report says.

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October 10, 2003

Economic Outlook: Corporate governance and public trust

This week, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) issued lengthy report titled "Corporate Governance, business under scrutiny" and described as a white paper to launch a debate about the main issue on business agenda all over the globe.

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October 08, 2003

CA execs asked to resign over accounting flap

Three top executives at Computer Associates were asked to resign after an internal probe determined that CA booked revenue from some sales prematurely during FY 2000.

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October 05, 2003

Holistic approach to governance

Organisations need to recognise that the financial and legalistic framework of corporate governance is in fact underpinned by ethics and morality. The establishment of a holistic approach to governance needs to include systems that identify not just legal and financial reporting requirements but also the ethical duties of organisations. These must be developed within the organisation and reinforced through appropriate communication and training strategies. 

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October 03, 2003

Sarbanes-Oxley puts the squeeze on startups

The Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002 – passed in the wake of the questionable accounting practices by such capsizing corporate giants such as Enron, WorldCom and Global Crossing – was designed to increase transparency in financial disclosure and instill good governance in publicly traded companies. What lawmakers did not count on was the havoc that the increased internal controls and ethics codes would wreak among private startups – many of them in the technology sector.

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October 02, 2003

Filtering corporate governance through the workplace

Shareholders are increasingly demanding better governance of companies, assurances that companies demonstrate high standards of business and behaviour by directors, officers and employees (both during and outside office hours) and that companies set and maintain good policies on a range of employee and customer dealings.

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September 18, 2003

Governance pays

GovernanceMetrics International (GMI) has released a study that draws a link between strong corporate governance and financial performance.

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October 05, 0004

Study criticizes corporate governance in Russia

Slow progress on corporate governance and the government crackdown on OAO Yukos have shaken investor confidence in Russia, concludes a study by a global association of financial institutions.

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February 06, 0004

New Terrain

Post-Enron reforms have made dramatic alterations to the landscape of corporate governance. Boards, their committees, and internal auditors now have greater responsibilities and powers. How will these reforms change the CFO's job?

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